Today's Gospel passage is Matthew 7:21-29, which includes these words from Jesus: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'"
This is a passage that we need to pay very close... attention to, particularly as so many Americans continue using faith as a weapon to justify so many crimes against one another and against creation.
A reflection on this text by Sr. Verna Holyhead, an Anglican Benedictine nun from Australia who died in 2011, has this to say:
Today's Gospel is the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus tells his listeners that having heard his words it now time to make choices. A lasting relationship with Jesus will never be built on lip service or pious words, such as "Lord, Lord," from those who claim Jesus as their teacher. A true relationship with him is established by putting Jesus' teachings into practice. We may profess we love the poor, are forgiving people, have nothing to do with contemporary demons; we may acclaim Jesus as Lord in our liturgy, but does his rule over our lives extend beyond that assembly? When did we last associate with a poor person? When did we have the courage to say "I'm sorry" to a brother or sister? When did we do something to exorcise our demons of materialism, addiction, social climbing, or status seeking?
To enter the kingdom of heaven we must do "the will of my Father in heaven," says Jesus. And the Father's will is love and life for all that is created and that flows from the radical action of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection."
By all means, let's continue to profess our faith, but when it becomes a tool for justifying institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, disdain and disregard for the poor, hatred of other religions, abuse of the environment, or supporting the never-ending "Us versus Them" mentality that defines so much of what we say and do in this country, then we are far from what Jesus taught and failing in our duty to follow the pattern of life given to us by the one we call "Lord."